The Importance of Being a VIP (Very Important Person) in India

It’s great to be a Very Important Person in India. If you're a VIP in India, you're set – you become entitled to the sort of privileges, concessions, freebies and benefits that ordinary Indians can only dream jealously about. Here are some things we know (and resent) about Indian VIPs; and some others that you may not know (and may come to resent even more!):

Being a VIP is a status symbol

People struggle to get that car with the red light on top and all the other privileges that go with being a VIP because if you're a VIP, you’ve really arrived in India. This hankering for beacon lights, sirens, party flags and security cover is common here.

We have the highest number of VIPs in the world

There are over 5,79,092 people in India that are categorized as VIPs and that number is only growing. Yes we are a large country, but let’s look at this staggering number in perspective: the officially listed number of VIPs in Britain is 84, in France there are 109, the United States has 252, Russia lists 321 and China – hold your breath – 435!

There are all sorts of VIPs in India

Not just the top leaders, MPs, MLA, judges, governors, even Gram Panchayat members and many industrialists get to be VIPs. If you have enough money and/or clout, you're a very important person, apparently.

There are various VIP categories

There are these categories of security provided to our VIPs – X (2 to 5 armed police personnel), Y (11 armed personnel including one or two commandos), Z category (22 personnel including 4 to 5 NSG commandos) and Z+ category with 36 personnel (10+ NSG commandos) and then the Special Protection Group (details classified).

VIPs cost a lot

It isn’t just that police personnel and specially trained commandos are diverted from their regular duties into guarding our many self-important VIPs, it actually costs a lot to keep these people in the style they are used to. Uttar Pradesh spends an estimated Rs 120 crores to protect VIPs.

Other problems of our VIP culture

VIPs break traffic rules with impunity and ignore rules and regulations because those are for lesser mortals, not them. Not only does the safety and security of the common citizen suffer because of the number of security personnel that are diverted to the guarding of these very important people, they are also not required to undergo security checks. It often happens that roads are blocked and flights are delayed just for the sake of our so called VIPs. Is it any wonder than Indians hate VIPs – but also perversely want to be VIPs?

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